Health retailer Holland & Barrett is to be gobbled up in a £1.77bn deal by an investment fund backed by Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman.
L1 Retail is buying the chain from US private equity group Carlyle’s NBTY subsidiary, which also owns the American vitamin and health supplement maker Nature’s Bounty.
Holland & Barrett describes itself as one of the world’s leading “health and wellness” retailers and the largest in Europe.
It has nearly 1,400 stores around the world, half of them in the UK, and employs 4,000 people, including 3,400 in the UK and Ireland – among these 350 at its headquarters in Nuneaton, Warwickshire.
The chain has a 145-year history, starting life as a market stall in St Albans.
It is the first acquisition by L1 Retail, launched last year by Mr Fridman’s holding company Letter One.
A spokesman for the buyer said: “We a very much looking forward to working with Peter Aldis, CEO, Holland & Barrett and his strong management team.
“We believe that the company is well positioned to benefit from structural growth in the growing £10bn health and wellness market and has multiple levers for long term growth and value creation.”
Details of the deal, first reported by the Financial Times, were confirmed by L1 and Carlyle on Monday.
Sky News revealed last week that the AS Watson, the Hong Kong-based owner of Superdrug, had also shown interest in acquiring the business.